The outing of Astolat and Fan History

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Title: The outing of Astolat and Fan History
Creator: Laura Hale
Date(s): December 2009
Medium: online
Fandom: many
Topic: Outing, Linking to Public Fan Sites
External Links: online here, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The outing of Astolat and Fan History is a post by Laura Hale at Fan History Wiki's blog.

The post is a response to a much-criticized incident that occurred in mid-2008, which other fans argued was outing, and Laura argues here was not.

Incidentally, her argument is very similar to the argument Will Shetterly had made about his outing of LiveJournal user coffeeandink during RaceFail 09; both were in the vein of "if it's public, you can link to it", but ran counter to a community norm in LiveJournal fandom, where there was an assumption of a degree of safety in posting RL name info to a personal account that was not google-indexed, even if the post wasn't friendslocked. Like Tumblr after it, on LJ you were expected to know not to publicize information that looked private, but keep it in the fandom.

Laura Hale's arguments that people should know better, ostensibly reasonable, are considered disingenuous by many. See Laura_Hale_(fan)#Outing and Fan_History_Wiki#Controversy.

See also "On privacy, blogging, and hazardous misconceptions" and "How not to appear on Fan History"


I’ve been repeatedly accused of outing Astolat. I’ve largely been silent on it because it really serves no purpose to confront people about their view on the events. It tends to piss people off and just drag up a whole bunch of garbage and nastiness in fandom that I’d and others would prefer to avoid.

Prior to the connection of Astolat and cathexys and and their real names on Fan History, both had made the connection themselves. They did this on their FLists on LiveJournal. They shared it with friends and acquaintances on other services. Neither took active steps to really hide the connections and both were viewed as open fandom secrets that everyone knew. The information frequently appeared on lol_meme, to the point where the mods on lol_meme stopped removing it. At the time, Fan History’s admins edited articles and made the connections with out thinking, because everyone knew and the information was easily accessible. Neither of these women were particularly “in the closet” with their identities. When we were informed otherwise, I asked members of our staff about it. One of them, who is no longer on staff, made the final call to put it back in and asked me to make the edit as they viewed as common knowledge. I did, and I’ve never named that person or blamed them because ultimately, the buck stops with me and I didn’t want to subject a person I considered a good friend to the type of wank storm that I was being subjected to.

That these women were “in the closet” in regards to their identities is one of the biggest problems I have with the attacks on myself and Fan History. Neither were and neither continue to be. If you want to be “in the closet” and keep your fandom identity separated from your “real life” identity and name, you do it all the time. You don’t decide that it is okay to be out with this person over here and not that person over there. And by this person, I mean this group of two or three thousand and not that group of ten. You don’t make information public and then claim that only this group over here can use that information when it suits them. Still, that’s what both Astolat and cathexys chose to do. They were out with their real names when it suited them and not when they weren’t.

We couldn’t have outed either of them.

Comment to This Post

Nile Flores, a Fan History Wiki volunteer, said:

I am not sure what part of when you talk about yourself online, you have exposed yourself.... at least in regards to the people 'outed.' I really do not think of it as an outing and it is ridiculous when you put yourself online and then have a shit fit when someone says something about you. Of course, it is a natural first reaction, but to draw it out into a long grudge, and involve others in it while encouraging people to retaliate in some manner is shameful and damn childish. It is sad that these people are adults.

I would say to get over themselves. If they feel they have been outed, then let me say: Guess what... you should have kept yourself anonymous and under an assumed name. If you are truthful about what you say, people will accept your choice to have an assumed named online. You also should know this type of stuff happens a lot, and if you choose to jump into a situation with eyes wide open, be prepared to accept anything. So at least accept responsibility and stop bagging on people as a means of scapegoating because things are not going your way....and grow up!

I am sure there will be people who keep on carrying on, but Laura, I am glad you have addressed this matter. It is about time. [1]